My friend and I trekked on bus and train to get to the far reaches of the town of Downe, UK. The historical importance of this place is that it was home to Charles Darwin and was the place where he not only sat and wrote his famous book ‘On The Origin Of Species’, but where he did a load of investigations for the book and where he raised his family. What I did not expect was just how much of a freakin’ awesome dude Darwin was in his life. So here is some shit I learned about that Darwin guy and why we should all be doing life like Darwin. Here are the steps to immortality and awesomeness:
- Get born into a rich family
So the key thing you need to do is get born rich. Both of his grandfathers were incredible in their own rights. On the paternal side there was Erasmus Darwin who also wrote his own theories about how all life is linked and was no doubt and inspiration to Charles. As a doctor and investor, he was also loaded.
On the other side of the family was the Wedgewood’s. These guys were super loaded from making the famous Wedgewood pottery. Rock and roll, a life of luxury and not having to work for a living all set to go!
2. Become a gigantic obsessive compulsive fruit loop.
Of my favourite stories of Down House is of Darwin in his youth collecting beetles. Being the obsessive compulsive guy he was, he was hunting beetles in the back yard and found 3 new species he didn’t have. One for the left hand. One for the right. And oh shit! What am I going to do with the third one??? I know! I’ll put the one in my hand in my mouth, pick up the new one and we’re all good. Except we are not. Because the beetle in my mouth just did a very acrid shit in my mouth and I had to spit it out and lost all my other beetles in the process…. oops.
We shall then rinse (mouth and process) and repeat obsessive collector behaviour some more because it is fun and what will see us to becoming lodged in history for all of eternity.
3. Drop out of the most prestigious university in the country
Darwin originally started attending university in Scotland for medicine. And flunked. Then he went to the famous Cambridge University to study to be a vicar. Not having a keen interest in study and basically not really giving too much of a shit, he dropped out of that too. Dad was pissed, obviously, but you know, these things happen.
4. Get your uncle to convince your dad to foot the bill for your gap year sailing the world
When Darwin dropped out, he was all ‘what am I going to do now?’ Then along came the opportunity to go on the HMS Beagle as a companion to the captain so he didn’t get so lonely and top himself like the last captain. By doing this he paved the way for the millions of teens in this century by deciding on taking a few ‘gap years’. And like all children on a gap year, they go to their parents with hand out and say ‘can I have some money? I’ll pay you back’. And Darwin’s dad says ‘hells to the no! You shall not go!’
So of course he then goes and gets good ole Uncle Jo and he is all ‘let me deal with Dad’ and all of a sudden Charles is allowed to go on his round the world sailing trip and Dad pays for it. And off he sails into the sunset to go chill out with turtles and all kinds of fun plants and animals to make discoveries and to do all those things that people did on 19th century gap years.
5. Make a pros and cons list about marriage
Everybody gets to that point in their life where they don’t know what to do with themselves next. When Darwin finished his massive gap year, he came home and contemplated getting married. He couldn’t decide what to do. And so he made a massive pros and cons list that is still to this day displayed in his house and decided that the pros won out. Then he married his cousin, Emma Wedgewood. Unlike loads of very unromantic and excessively ‘civil’ marriages of Victorian England, these two seemed to love each other and actually spent time with each other hanging out and doing stuff like playing backgammon. Way to be awesome to your wife, Darwin. More men should take a leaf from your book. Except for the whole marrying your cousin bit.
6. Move to the countryside cause its cheap and pop out a few kids
Because it was cheaper than inner city London and still is, it is advisable to do it like Darwin and move to the country and get a big property with lots of space to chill out in. Then you can have a garden to investigate plants and worms. You can also pop out a few kids with your significant other and let them have fun running around the lawn and helping you out with your investigations.
7. Be the most awesome and fun Dad in the world
To be the most awesome Dad in the world like Darwin, you have to spend some time with your kids doing stuff. It is also advisable to build a massive wooden slide that you can use to slide down the staircase on the inside of the house. You need not be one of these stiff upper lip Victorian types who shows no affection. It is advisable to show affection and love to your kids and play with them outside and then you too can be like Darwin.
8. Hang out with worms
Cause all of the most coolest and humble people in the world love a good worm. His last research projects were on the humble worm and their contribution to the ecosystem and processing nutrients. Not at all afraid to get his hands dirty! What a guy!
9. Write an awesome book
After twenty years in the making of a theory, you will then receive another scientists work in the mail for observation, freak the hell out when you realize that is the same theory as yours and then go into total meltdown. You will then spend a year summarizing your findings and release a book that will be shunned by the entire Catholic Church that you were supposed to become a vicar in and only truly appreciated for your genius by half of the scientific community. Well at least for now.
10. Become a scientific icon and get buried with famous people
After all of the years of ridiculousness and hoo-haa, you will eventually become very sick at a ripe old age with heart disease and pass away in the company of family. Then because you are so awesome, people will not allow your wishes to be buried at home to be fulfilled but instead they will petition to have you buried in Westminster Abbey with that good old bloke Isaac Newton so you can be scientific tomb buddies for all eternity.
So there you have it! Ten steps to being the most awesome dude ever like Darwin. I am pretty sure that he is up there with my most favourite of scientific heroes. Its a shame that more people can’t be as smart and kind as Darwin. If the world was full of Darwin’s, I think it would be pretty damn awesome!